Worldwide, one diabetic patient every three hours loses a limb because of a chronic wound. According to the World Health Organization 80 percent of these amputations are preventable. Health Outcomes Worldwide has developed an application –how2trak® – that coaches healthcare providers through the best practice guidelines for wound care to help decrease the number of amputations that happen daily as well as improve the healing time for other chronic wounds.
In 1999, Corrine McIsaac founder and CEO of Health Outcomes Worldwide, was supervising home care in rural Cape Breton when she noticed one major deficiency, the budget was always in the red.
“As a manager I felt like I was responsible for the tax payer dollars and always having a bottom line negative was a big issue for me” said McIsaac. She then took it upon herself to see what the issue was. “I discovered that 50 percent of nursing time was spent doing wound care for both surgical and chronic wounds, and best practice guidelines were not being used or followed.”
McIsaac and team, then created a booklet to help guide healthcare workers through the best practices for wound care, as well as a process for measuring success. In the first year of using the new process, the healthcare industry saved $3 million and improved patient healing time by 70 percent. McIsaac spent the next nine years establishing the largest wound care database in the country and in 2009 formalized the platform that is now known as how2trak.
how2trak is a mobile application that ensures comprehensive documentation and guides decision-making by healthcare professionals at the point of care through real-time analytics and reporting guides; “Our application can assess 20 different types of wounds, and walk the care provider through the steps of proper wound care management, thus ensuring best practices are met,” said McIsaac.
Behind the technology and savings, McIsaac says the most rewarding aspect of her job is hearing the success stories from care providers who have used her technology. She recently received a phone call from a physician in Toronto thanking her after he was able to prevent a scheduled amputation for a man who had an infected wound with the help of how2trak. The physician was able to make a better assessment of his patient’s wound and treated the man properly for an infection.
Getting how2trak into the hands of care providers is not always easy and involves testing the technology in a care environment before receiving government approval. In 2010, how2trak went through successful product testing at a Community Care Access Centre in Ontario where they utilized how2trak and reduced daily dressing changes for clients with open surgical wounds from 30 percent to four percent resulting in savings of $1.7 million over 12-months.
For the time being how2trak is mostly being used in Ontario and Western Canada in a number of home care agencies, clinics and long term care homes, holding the ten largest contracts with long term care homes in Toronto, but McIsaac won’t be happy until she sees how2trak being implemented in the Nova Scotia healthcare system where it has already undergone successful testing and met all provincial regulations.
“Based on a review of the practice in Nova Scotia, we predict we can save the Nova Scotia healthcare system up to $10 million in the first 10 months and improve wound healing time by 70 percent” said McIsaac, “we are saving other provincial governments hundreds of millions of dollars and I would like to be doing that in Nova Scotia.”
how2trak is an easy to follow application that only takes about 15 minutes of training online to use properly. It also does not require access to the internet when being used, and will update once connected making the model scalable outside of Nova Scotia and North America. McIsaac envisions being able to implement how2trak in developing countries free of cost where it can save time and money where supplies and expertise are already limited.
“The results we have achieved are well beyond our expectations. We have tested them time and time again, and the repeated results are clear,” says McIsaac.
In February, Health Outcomes Worldwide signed a partnership with Think Research Corporation (TRC). The partnership will see the how2trak platform integrated as a third-party application into Think Research Group’s platform EntryPoint, making it available to the group’s network of over 300 North American healthcare organizations.